Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/324

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the convalescent has reached the maximum, and future average, of two hours per day of active out-door exercise. Languid promenades may require an extension of that time; wood-chopping will justify its reduction to an hour and a half. For rainy days there should be a covered wood-shed, or, better yet, an amateur carpenter-shop with a liberal supply of dull saws and thick boards. Asthenic invalids will derive great benefit from horseback-exercise, or even from a buckboard trip—with or without catch-ropes—the great desideratum in antibilious exercises being concussion, the sound shaking-up of the whole frame. Trapeze-evolutions, spring-board and dumb-bell practice rank, therefore, highest among the gymnastic specifics; wood-cutting and sawing among the more arduous kinds of manual labor; and trotting down-hill among the various modes of pedestrian exercise. It is worth a dyspeptic's while to hire a sedan-chair to lug him to the top of an out-of the-way hill, and a boy to run him a race to the foot of it. After a week or so he will be able to dispense with the sedan. At the first symptoms of indigestion, book-keepers, entry-clerks, authors, and editors should at once get a telescope-desk. Literary occupations need not necessarily involve sedentary habits, though, as the alternative of a standing-desk, I should prefer a Turkish writing-tablet and a square yard of carpet-cloth to squat upon. But Schreber's telescope-desk enables the writer to sit and stand by turns, and has the further advantage of a sloping top that eases the wrist by resting the weight of the arm upon the elbow.

Cold-baths (always before dinner) may be limited to the summer season; but open bedroom-windows are de rigueur the year round. As long as the bedclothes keep the couch warm, the lungs can inhale cold air not only with impunity, but with the most unmistakable benefit to the digestive organs. The cold nights of the South African tablelands enable the Caffre to digest his barbecues of sorghum-beer and rhinoceros-steaks, and the neighborhood of a glacier makes many a Swiss highland hotel a stronghold of gluttony. In the dog-days it can do no harm, in a sequestered region, to take a river-side ramble at a time when only the moonlight watches on the meadows, for out-door exercise on an oppressively sultry day may defeat its object and bring on a fit of retching and nausea. Intensely cold air, on the other hand, is such a powerful tonic that, in midwinter, a ten minutes' trot along an icy pavement will often serve all the digestive purposes of that day, though the convalescent will be surer to have fulfilled all righteousness by adding half an hour's arm-work in the wood-shed. In midsummer dyspeptics sometimes deprecate exercise on the peculiar plea that a long-continued muscular effort acts as a reliable astringent, and the testimony of a veteran gymnasium-teacher of my acquaintance seems to confirm the physiological fact. But, in the first place, a transient constipation is no very serious matter, and, besides, the danger can generally be obviated by training early in the morn-